Category: Appeals

Syrians: afraid to stay, afraid to go, afraid they may never return

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Sir Nicholas Young in the ambulance dispatch centre

© Ibrahim Malla/ BRC

This is a guest blog by British Red Cross chief executive Sir Nicholas Young, who recently visited Damascus, Syria.

Today, Syria is a war zone. Even in Damascus, the skyline is punctuated by plumes of smoke from bombed buildings. The streets are quiet and the lights are out from early evening. The call to prayer is interrupted by the rolling boom of mortar and artillery attacks, and the shriek of war planes overhead.

Food is in short supply, and even bread is hard to find outside Damascus. The country can no longer produce its own medicines, as the pharmaceutical factories around Aleppo have been destroyed or damaged by fighting. Over a third of the country’s hospitals have closed down. Typhoid and hepatitis are spreading.

The UN estimates that over 4 million people in Syria need help. More

Aid in Syria: by truck, boat, or horse and cart

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Aid convoy in Azzaz

© SARC – Azzaz

By now, you’ll probably have seen photos of Red Cross and Red Crescent trucks taking aid to vulnerable Syrians. You might also have read the blog by the British Red Cross logistics manager explaining how we source supplies and transport aid.

What you are unlikely to have seen are the innovative ways Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers are distributing aid in hard-to-access areas of Syria. More

First aid volunteers in Syria: “It’s a wonderful thing to save someone’s life”

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Volunteering with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent is a commitment. Shifts are long, and the work is hard and dangerous. Most of the Red Crescent’s first aid volunteers are in their 20s, and many are juggling university studies along with their duties.

Volunteers are trained by the Red Crescent for a year before they are qualified to join a first aid unit. Despite the conflict, the Red Crescent has been able to continue recruiting and training first aid and psychosocial support volunteers.

Although their job is often a dangerous one, volunteers speak about their work with passion and dedication.

Donate to the Syria Crisis Appeal

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West Africa update: supporting people affected by Mali conflict

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This week sees the closure of our West Africa Food Crisis Appeal. However, with access to food remaining difficult – and conflict in Mali making humanitarian needs in the region worse – the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement will continue to support people across the region.

71-year-old Thiombiano L’Oudalan, Burkina Faso

© BRC/ Henry Makiwa

The Movement has been working in west Africa for many years, and has been responding to the food crisis there since December 2011. More

Syria conflict: scarce bread, deserted streets and the noise of war

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Central dispatch in Damascus

© BRC

This is a guest post by the British Red Cross programme manager for the Middle East and north Africa, who recently visited the Syrian Arab Red Crescent headquarters in Syria.

We arrived in Syria from Beirut in the late afternoon and got to Damascus as dusk was falling. On the Lebanese side of the border, we could see many people leaving Syria.

Over the road, at the office processing entrances to Syria, it was another story. The waiting room in the border office was desolate, with a few – mainly male – travellers getting their documentation approved to go back.

The road from the Lebanese border had not changed much since the last time I’d been here – over four years ago now – with rolling red hills leading down to the city of Damascus. However, as we entered the capital, we passed long queues outside two bakeries. Bread is now a commodity that Syrians cannot take for granted. More

Photo gallery: how we are helping people in Syria

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The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has been working in Syria since before the unrest began. It has now scaled up its response and is providing medical care and supplies, water, food, blankets, sleeping mats, candles, and hygiene items, and evacuating wounded people to hospitals.

Donate to the Syria Crisis Appeal

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Three years on: a multi-coloured path to the future in Haiti

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As the Red Cross helps regenerate a community devastated by the Haiti earthquake on 12 January 2010, it is taking an innovative approach, ensuring the people affected are in the driving seat.

View over Delmas 19 neighbourhood in Haiti

In the aftermath of the earthquake, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement launched its biggest disaster relief operation ever in a single country.

As the emergency phase shifted into longer-term recovery, the British Red Cross provided support for shelter, livelihoods, health, water and sanitation, helping more than 340,000 people.

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Violence in Syria: A volunteer’s view

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Two volunteers by the doors of an ambulance

© Ibrahim Malla / Syrian Red Crescent

As violence brings death and destruction to the people of Syria, a volunteer ambulance driver has described his life-saving work during fighting at the Yarmouk refugee camp.

On December 17 2012, Hamza  – a Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) volunteer – was called to help people in desperate need of treatment at the camp in Damascus.

Violence had left its hospitals completely overwhelmed and unable to take in all of the injured. The 22-year-old student spent the day taking wounded people for urgent treatment outside the camp before eventually returning to base, washing the blood from his ambulance – and heading back to Yarmouk the next day. More